Party with a purpose

Emmanuel (left) and his friends are the subjects of Galen Films's "Rescuing Emmanuel," produced by Galen films.

By CK Wolfson - April 5, 2007

It would be difficult to imagine having a conversation with filmmakers Len and Georgia Morris, and not coming away feeling enlightened by their experiences, affected by their dedication, and inspired to finally believe in the significant difference one person can make.

Four years ago, at a fundraising get together (Hambarbee) hosted by the Morris's award-winning company, Galen Films, the Island community raised funds that changed the lives of poverty stricken children in Kenya by making it possible for 61 to attend elementary school.

Students from the Sauri Village School
Students from the Sauri Village School.

On Sunday, April 7, at the Chilmark Community Center, Galen Films will once again host a Harambee - a free family potluck dinner, with music by Rick Bausman's drum workshop and a showing of a film of the Morris's recent month-long visit with the children in Kenya. Festivities will also include a brief preview of their new film, still being edited; "Rescuing Emmanuel," about children in Nairobi and Western Kenya, "...nothing young children shouldn't see," assures Ms. Morris.

According to the Morrises, the poverty-stricken children dream of going to school: a dream of spending 10 to 12 hours in packed classrooms with no break, no lunch, no dinner, in order to inch closer to becoming a nurse, teacher, or anyone who then might be able to make things better for other village children.

Mr. Morris says, "It's the dreams of people at the bottom looking up," explaining that in addition to tuition, the children lack the most basic supplies: blankets, socks, even toothbrushes.

Esther Njeri
Esther Njeri picks coffee on the Masarara Coffee Estate, Kenya, Africa.

"Most people on this Island have a global awareness," Ms. Morris says, who hopes that Islanders will once again be moved to contribute to help the Kenyan children continue on to high school.

Here's another chance to demonstrate how one person can change another's life for the better. Pass it on.

And Mr. Morris adds, "Being able to make a difference is pretty potent stuff. That's what Sunday is all about."

The Harambee, Saturday, April 7, 6:30 pm, at the Chilmark Community Center. If you would like to make a donation, checks can be made out to Kenyan Education Fund and sent c/o Galen Films, Box 4219, Tisbury, MA 02568.